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Three Food Discoveries of 2014: Make Them Staples of Your Kitchen in 2015

Suzanne Krowiak, Indy Food Swappers show us Three Food Discoveries of 2014: Make Them Staples of Your Kitchen in 2015

One cocktail, one appetizer, and one family dish: They were new to Suzanne Krowiak from Indy Food Swappers last year, and now she says she can’t shut up about them. Easy, can’t-fail recipes for beginners and experienced home cooks to add to your repertoire NOW.

The Family Dish:

-The simple, hands-off pizza crust that makes it possible for you to serve all of the picky eaters in your house with ONE pizza. Pinky swear!:

Easy, Homemade Pizza

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Adapted from Jenny Rosenstrach, Dinner: A Love Story

**CRUST**

Ingredients:

• 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

• 2 ½ teaspoons instant or active dry yeast

• ¾ teaspoon salt

• ¾ teaspoon sugar

• 1 1/3 cups water, room temperature

• Olive oil, for greasing

Instructions:

1. Whisk together flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in medium bowl.

2. Add the water, and stir with a wooden spoon until blended, at least 30 seconds. (I usually have to finish the job with my hands, to fully incorporate the flour.) The dough will be stiff, not wet and sticky.

3. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, at least two hours. (Alternative: I usually cover the bowl with a towel, and place in the oven, with the oven OFF, but the oven light ON. This usually results in a quicker, more reliable rise of the dough.)

4. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Shape each section into flattened balls.

5. If you are only making one pizza, freeze the other ball in a freezer storage bag. For easier handling, rub a little olive oil on your fingers and on the ball of dough before bagging.

**PIZZA**

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 500°F for at least 30 minutes before baking pizza.

2. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, grease a 17 x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Drop pizza dough into the center of the baking sheet, and using your fingers, press out and flatten the dough so it spreads as close as possible to all four corners. It will take some persistence, but it can be done. The thin crust is delicious! Using a fork, pierce holes in the dough in several places on the baking sheet.

3. Bake the dough, without any toppings, in the pre-heated oven for 7 minutes. If browning too quickly, remove sooner.

4. Remove pan from oven. (The crust will not be fully done yet… we are just par-baking it, so no raw parts will remain once the toppings are also cooked.)

5. If doing a traditional pizza with red sauce, spread 1 ½ cups homemade or store-bought pizza sauce over the dough, using the back of a spoon.

6. Add favorite toppings: pepperoni, veggies, etc.

7. Cover generously with shredded mozzarella cheese.

8. Return pan to the oven and bake until cheese is bubbly, approximately 10 minutes.

Other topping ideas:

For our family, we like to do split-personality pizzas. Half will be a traditional pepperoni pizza with red sauce, and the other will be roasted potatoes or butternut squash, crispy pieces of diced pancetta, and crumbled blue cheese. Instead of using a traditional red sauce as a base, we just drizzle olive oil on the crust before adding the rest of the toppings. Feel free to experiment here, using whatever flavors your family loves.The Appetizer: -Sweet, salty, hot, and SIMPLE. The easy, unique appetizer that will make you the most popular person at the party. Maple toast with soft cheese & chili oil.

Maple Bread with Soft Cheese

Amy Thielen, Host of Heartland Table on The Food Network

Ingredients:

• ½ cup maple syrup

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

• kosher salt

• 8 pieces of thinly sliced sourdough bread, or your favorite loaf. (I use the City Loaf from Amelia’s Bread in Indianapolis.)

• Vegetable oil, for oiling plate

• Soft cheese, like Brie, or your other favorite. (I love Trillium from Tulip Tree Creamery in Indianapolis.)

• Hot chili oil (optional)

Instructions:

1. Cook the maple bread in two batches.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add ¼ cup maple syrup, and 1 ½ tablespoons of butter. When melted, add half of the bread, turning over immediately to coat both sides of the bread in the maple syrup/butter mixture.

3. Cook, flipping often with a butter knife or fork, until the bread is lacquered with the syrup and takes on a toasted look, and most of the maple syrup/butter mixture has been soaked up by the bread, or evaporated. (Approximately 4 minutes.)

4. Remove bread from pan and allow to cool on a plate that has been lightly brushed with oil. (To keep the bread from sticking.)

5. Repeat with the remaining bread, maple syrup, and butter.

6. Smear a chunk of soft cheese on the bread, and serve immediately. (Drizzle with hot chili oil for an extra layer of flavor. OPTIONAL.)The Cocktail: -Roasted citrus sangria. Winter is the time for citrus… roasting it and adding it to a cocktail is a way to surprise yourself and your guests.

Roasted Citrus Sangria

Ingredients:

• 2 oranges, cut into ½ -inch discs

• 2 Meyer lemons, cut into ½ -inch discs

• Granulated sugar

• 1 bottle of inexpensive, red fruity red wine (or crisp white wine, like sauvignon blanc)

• ½ cup simple syrup (recipe below)

• ½ cup Triple Sec

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven broiler for at least 10 minutes.

2. Place the oranges and lemons on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.

3. Sprinkle the slices of citrus generously with granulated sugar.

4. Heat under the broiler until slightly browned.

5. Remove from oven and let cool.

6. In large pitcher or ½ gallon jar, combine the wine, simple syrup, triple sec, and roasted fruit. Stir well.

7. Refrigerate until chilled, and least 1 hour, and up to 8.

To make the simple syrup: Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. (Approx 2- 3 minutes.) Remove from heat and cool completely. Can be refrigerated in glass container for up to 1 month.

Alternative flavored syrup: Pomegranate with black pepper.

Combine 1 ½ cups pomegranate seeds, ¼ cup black peppercorns, 1 cup water, and 1 cup sugar in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain through fine-mesh sieve or strainer lined with cheesecloth. Discard pomegranate seeds and peppercorns, and refrigerate remaining syrup. To substitute this syrup for simple syrup in the sangria, reduce the amount from ½ cup to ¼ cup.

For more information visit their website at www.indyfoodswappers.com

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